Music makes up a large chunk of our lives. It’s even more crucial in our cultures because it helps us bond with each other. Have you ever noticed that there is a certain type or style of music played depending on the place and time? For instance, at a wedding, happy romantic music is played.
At a museum, classical music is usually played. At a festival, upbeat music is usually what you’ll find there and so on. That is because music always sets up the mood and brings life to our surroundings. Did you ever secretly wish that life would have background music like in the movies?? We sure know that was our birthday wish more than once!
But here’s what’s really interesting. Music doesn’t just affect your mood, but it also affects your learning, emotions, memory, attention and even helps the release of certain hormones in your body.
Keep reading below to find out how.
Music Affects Your Feelings and Emotions
Emotions in your brain are affected by what music you listen to and with whom you listen. Listening to happy and uplifting music increases the release of Dopamine (the happiness hormone), which instantly puts you in a joyful mood and makes you feel happy.
You may find that children start dancing and smiling when cheerful music is played, even though they aren’t customed to do that. That is a natural reaction to the music.
Listening to music with someone helps you bond with them. Dancing to a romantic song with someone you love or singing a lullaby to a baby, excites the release of Oxytocin (the love hormone) in the brain which strengthens bonding and understanding.
You may believe that sad music negatively affects your brain but the truth is it may actually be beneficial to you. When you listen to sad music a hormone called Prolactin is released which calms you down and releases your stress. When you relate to the music you are listening to, your deepest emotions are awakened, causing you to feel better and more understood.
Music Affects Your Attention and Creativity
Some songs are very lyrically heavy that you find yourself zoning out and imagining that you are part of the story the singer is singing about. Music sparks our creativity and enables our attention to be directed in different directions that we choose.
Also, a research conducted by students at Stanford stated that the short periods of silence in classical music composed by eighteenth-century composers, cause the listener to focus back their attention to the music and interpret the rhythms in their minds. This technique strengthens attention spans in our brains.
Music Affects Your Memory
After listening to certain songs frequently over a period of time, the rhythms in the songs become engraved in your brain. Every time a certain song you used to listen to is played around you, all the emotions you felt, associated with this song become triggered and felt once again no matter how much time has passed.
This experience is very beneficial to people with Alzheimer’s disease. That’s because music is so much more powerful than verbal language and imagery.
Certain songs from the patient’s past get played as part of therapy. When the patient listens to these songs, the patient’s mood becomes enlightened, they become more aware of their surroundings and in the most successful cases, the patient becomes able to reconnect and remember the past memories associated to the music he/she is listening to.
How Music Affects Learning
Some people experience events that change their brain’s chemistry, these changes may be really difficult to reverse back to normal. These changes can vary from minor traumatic experiences to severe traumatic changes that may greatly injure the brain.
The same method applied in Alzheimer’s patients is applied to brain injury patients. Music can help put the scattered pieces of your puzzled memory together by reconnecting with yourself and your past through music therapy.
Through music therapy, singing, and melodic transitions, the brain becomes able to provide new information for itself and new connections to re-learn what was missing once again.